NASCAR on 4th of July: Ranking the 10 Best Pre-Race National Anthems Ever

Melissa Bauer-Herzog@mbauerherzogCorrespondent IJuly 5, 2011

NASCAR on 4th of July: Ranking the 10 Best Pre-Race National Anthems Ever

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    One of the most moving parts of a NASCAR race is the beginning ceremonies with the flyover and the national anthem. While every American heart swells with pride at hearing the national anthem before the roar of the engines, there aren't always good renditions of the song. Today, though, we take a look at the 10 best national anthems ever sung before a race.

    While I am sure I have missed posting some amazing national anthems that have played at NASCAR tracks around the country (and have a list a mile long of those that unfortunately didn't make my top 10), here are the ones I feel are the 10 best we have heard at the races.

No. 10: Catina Mack and Crowd at 2009 Budweiser Shootout

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    While this national anthem has some audio problems that take away from Catina Mack's performance, the most moving part is hearing the crowd join in to help her.

    It may not be the flashiest national anthem that has ever been heard at a race, but the crowd singing with Mack gives me chills.

No. 9: Crystal Bowersox

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    When listening to all of the national anthems I could find, I noticed a trend. The Nationwide series seems to get the really good up-and-coming singers that can send chills down your spine while singing the hardest song in America.

    Crystal Bowersox is one such singer that really showed just how much singing the anthem means to her.

No. 8: Ashley Alexander

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    Ashley Alexander definitely fits on this list. The girl has pipes and can really belt out the anthem, as she proved before the Nationwide race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in June of 2010.

    The song starts around the 1:29 mark.

No. 7: Taylor Hicks

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    When I was looking through national anthems, I kept coming back to this Taylor Hicks rendition of the song.

    The American Idol season five winner really belted out the song at a Kentucky Speedway truck race on July 14, 2007. While he only made it to No. 7 on the list, this truly is a great performance.

    The song starts around the 3:05 mark.

No. 6: Sarah Darling

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    Sarah Darling has sung the national anthem for NASCAR a few times, but this prerace performance really got to me.

    This is another one of those times the Nationwide Series sneaks in a good singer, this time for the song at the 2009 Nationwide Dollar General 300. This is one of those songs you have to hear to believe just how powerful Darling makes the song in her performance.

    The video starts around the 47-second mark.

No. 5: Mountain Heart

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    I'm not usually a fan of a group doing the national anthem, but Mountain Heart's 2009 Martinsville performance may change my mind on that.

    Their harmony is great, and in this case the additional voices really add to the performance.

No. 4: Carrie Underwood

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    While the sound on this video has a bit of fuzziness to it, Carrie Underwood's performance still rocks the stands.

    Underwood has a set of pipes on her, and she really showed it here in her 2006 Coca-Cola 600 performance!

No. 3: Martina McBride

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    Martina McBride has always been an underrated singer, and her 2011 Daytona 500 performance showed just how good of a singer she really is, no matter what challenge is in front of her.

    While people may not like country, the Daytona 500 national anthem was talked about for weeks after the race. I think it's safe to say McBride really made a splash in Florida.

    The video starts at the 41-second mark.

No. 2: Josh Gracin

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    If NASCAR could bring someone in like Josh Gracin to sing the national anthem every week, it would be massively ahead on its prerace show.

    Not only is his performance of this song moving on its own, but add in the fact that he is also a veteran, and it becomes even more special.

    Of all the national anthems I listened to, I think this one really shows what America is all about.

No. 1: Ernie Haase and the Signature Sound

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    While I didn't think anyone could top Josh Gracin's performance, the group in this performance really sings the national anthem how I always imagine it sounding. 

    Atlanta did an awesome job bringing in Ernie Haase and the Signature Sound to perform the song for the track's 50th anniversary last year, and the group really blew anything else I could imagine out of the water.